Traveling While Pregnant: Guidelines, Safety, And Tips
Carrying a little one inside your belly can change your life in many ways! One of the big questions pregnant women ask is this: “What about traveling while I’m pregnant?”
For the most part, you won’t have to put your travel plans on hold — you’ll just need to make a few adjustments! If you’re planning a trip and wondering when it’s safe to travel and how you should go about it with your pregnant self, our Newton Baby experts have the answers.
In this article, we’ll explain what the guidelines are for traveling while pregnant, tell you a few ways to stay safe, and give you some tips to make the trip as easy and comfortable as possible!
Guidelines For Traveling While Pregnant
If you’ve got the travel bug, the good news is that it’s usually safe to travel during the majority of your pregnancy.
The American College Of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says, “For most women, traveling during pregnancy is safe. As long as you and your fetus are healthy, you can travel safely until you are 36 weeks pregnant.”
However, they go on to say that you should rethink traveling if you have a complicated pregnancy or are pregnant with more than one baby.
In addition, traveling to an area with malaria or the zika virus (which can cause serious birth defects) is not recommended for pregnant women.
Those are the general guidelines, but first and foremost, always ask your OB-GYN about your travel plans. They know you and your pregnancy best and can offer recommendations for traveling with a bun in the oven.
The Best Time To Travel
Although guidelines say you can travel all the way up to 36 weeks, what’s the best (and most comfortable) time to travel for a pregnant woman?
In general, the second trimester is the sweet spot for most women. During those months, you’ll probably have more energy, morning sickness will likely be a thing of the past, and your belly won’t yet be so big that it makes moving around difficult.
Plus, the most common pregnancy complications take place in the first and third trimesters. Pay attention to how you feel and listen to your body for cues on when to take off on an adventure and when to stay home.
So, what about when you do decide to pack your bags and head out? Here are a few safety guidelines to remember!
Traveling Safely While Pregnant
With a baby on the way, you don’t have to throw your travel dreams out the window, but you will need to keep some things in mind.
See Your Doctor Before You Leave
Before you take off, see your doctor to double-check that everything is a-OK. This is a good time to ask any questions about traveling safely while you’re pregnant.
You’ll also want to be sure that you’re up to date on any necessary vaccinations.
Plan ahead for whatever might come up while you’re away.
Go prepared with all of your prescriptions, and think through what over-the-counter medications you might need. Make sure everything you bring is safe for you to take while pregnant!
Also, carry information about your health and your pregnancy — your due date, a copy of your health record, and any other pertinent info. This will be helpful in case you need to seek medical attention while you’re traveling.
Finally, if you’re going to be cruising the high seas, check with the cruise ship company to make sure that there will be a medical provider on board.
Check Your Insurance
Speaking of going to the doc while you’re away, it’s a good idea to check your insurance before you leave. If you’re traveling internationally, you may need to buy travel insurance if your current plan doesn’t provide coverage.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gives a few tips for those looking for travel insurance:
“... make sure the policy will also cover the baby if you give birth during your trip. If you are traveling to a remote area, an insurance policy that covers medical evacuation will pay for your transportation to a high-quality hospital in case of emergency.”
Watch What You Eat
Here’s another safety guideline for trips across the pond or over the border: watch what you eat. New germs that your body isn’t used to might leave you running to the bathroom with diarrhea. Yikes!
To help prevent that unfortunate scenario, drink bottled water, pasteurized milk, and canned drinks only. Also, stay away from raw or undercooked meat as well as fresh fruits and veggies.
Talk to your doctor ahead of time about what to do and what medicine to take in the event that you do end up with an upset tummy (or more).
Prevent Blood Clots
While you’re traveling, it’s important to do what you can to prevent blood clots, also known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Why? You’re more at risk than your non-pregnant friends.
The CDC claims that “women are at higher risk for a blood clot during pregnancy, childbirth, and up to 3 months after delivering a baby. In fact, pregnant women are 5 times more likely to experience a blood clot compared with women who are not pregnant.”
This is why taking breaks during road trips is so essential for pregnant travelers!
Not only is it more comfortable for you and your aching back, but standing up frequently and moving your legs also gets your blood flowing and can help reduce the risk of DVT.
While you’re sitting, you can get your blood moving by flexing and pointing your toes, drawing circles or squares with your feet, or, one at a time, lifting your thighs off of the seat.
Another way to ward off blood clots is to stay hydrated. Pack your water bottle and drink plenty while you travel!
6 Tips For Easy-Breezy Travel
Once you’ve decided to take a trip and you’ve done a safety check, you’ll still want to take care of a few extra details to make your trip as enjoyable, easy, and comfortable as possible.
Here are a few tips for easy-breezy travel!
1) Make Car Rides As Short As Possible
While taking the scenic route can be fun, skip it this time. Make your car rides as short as possible, and remember to take plenty of breaks to stretch your legs and walk around.
2) Travel With Your Pillows
Packing for a trip when you’re pregnant isn’t as complicated as it will be once your little one has arrived. Still, you’ll want a few extras to stay safe and make yourself comfy.
If you have the room, bring your own pillows along with you! Whether it’s a special pregnancy pillow or just your favorite pillow to rest your head on, you’ll sleep better and your back will probably thank you, too.
3) Read Airline Policy
Before you purchase your plane ticket, read up on the airline’s policies for pregnant women. Some prohibit women from traveling after a certain point in pregnancy, or they might require a medical certificate.
Don’t get caught unprepared!
4) Pick An Aisle Seat
If you are traveling by plane, opt for an aisle seat. This will allow you to stand up and stretch your legs without crawling over your seatmates or asking everyone to let you out.
This is also helpful for the multiple bathroom trips you’ll probably make!
When you get up to move around, always keep a hand on the seatbacks — just remember to wash your hands afterward. Unexpected turbulence could send you tumbling, and you don’t want that with a baby on board!
5) Bring Your Own Food
Keep your belly satisfied by packing your own delicious snacks. If you’re concerned about finding healthy food while you’re traveling, it may be worth packing a couple of meals, too.
Bringing your lunch or dinner can also save you quite a few bucks by avoiding expensive airport food. And we don’t know about you, but that’s money we would put toward decorating the nursery!
6) Pack In A Rolling Suitcase
This one might seem obvious, but when you’re in the thick of pregnancy brain, sometimes you need these reminders!
Pack in a rolling suitcase, ideally one with four swivel wheels. If you don’t already have one, go out and buy one. You won’t regret it!
Hopefully, you’re traveling with someone who can give you a hand with your bags, but even still, a rolling suitcase will make your travel day go more smoothly.
Whether you’re setting out for your babymoon, a girls’ weekend, or anything in-between, traveling while pregnant is definitely possible!
Get all of your wanderlust out before 36 weeks (ideally during your second trimester), and stay safe by taking a few extra precautions.
Once your little one comes, traveling means packing a portable crib, sheets, swaddles, tons of diapers, and all the rest. Of course, your baby is worth it, but there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the ease of light travel right now!
Simply follow our guidelines above for safe, easy, comfortable travel and enjoy the trip. Bon voyage!